Benjamin Cummings Truman (1835-1916) of Providence, Rhode Island, was a Civil War Union officer and newspaper correspondent before coming to California in 1866 as a special agent of the Post Office. In 1870 he was sent to Washington as correspondent for the New York Times and the San Francisco Bulletin but soon returned to become editor of the Los Angeles Evening Express, and owner of the Los Angeles Star. In 1879 he became chief of the literary bureau of the Southern Pacific Railway. Semi-tropical California (1874), written during his tenure at the Los Angeles Star, defines "semi-tropical" California as portions of Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties, but devotes most of its attention to the city and county of Los Angeles and neighboring San Gabriel Valley. Truman discusses specific mines, residences, fruit orchards, vineyards, and ranches as well as general patterns of agriculture, sheep and cattle raising, irrigation, and mineral resources. Beyond Los Angeles, he describes the towns and cities of Anaheim, Wilmington, and San Bernardino.
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